Eddie Mekka, 'Laverne & Shirley' Actor, Dead At 69
By Jason Hall
December 2, 2021
Eddie Mekka, best known for his role as Carmine 'The Big Ragu' Ragusa on Laverne & Shirley, died over the weekend at the age of 69.
Mekka's brother, Warren Mekjian, told TMZ the actor was found dead at his Newhall, California home on Saturday (November 27) after friends and neighbors called police to check on him over concerns that they hadn't heard from him in a few days.
Mekjian confirmed his brother had recently been hospitalized for blood clots and could barely walk prior to his passing.
TMZ reports there was no indication of suspicious activity or foul play involved in Mekka's death.
The actor played Ragusa, the boyfriend of Cindy Williams' title character Shirley on the popular ABC sitcom from 1976-83 and would routinely sing during appearances on the show.
Legendary Laverne & Shirley producer Garry Marshall also cast in other sitcoms including Blansky's Beauties.
Mekka was also nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Lieutenant prior to finding success in television.
Mekka, a native or Worcester, Massachusetts, also had guest roles on Fantasy Island and The Love Boat and went on to appear on the ABC hit Family Matters, as well as having smaller roles in the film A League of their Own -- directed by Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall -- and Dreamgirls.